Tria is a favorite haunt of mine, a reliable, consistent bar/restaurant in a great location. The menu focuses on three things -- cheese, wine, and beer, offering other items that complement these "staples." The pretentiousness quotient is surprisingly low, given the hip looks of the staff and the number of wines, beers and cheeses that I have never heard of, much less understand. In fact, the staff manages to be friendly and helpful, which is appreciated given the advice they need to provide.
Tria is also great because you can order (and simultaneously sit at a table) appetizers and drinks, just as easily as dinner. The appetizers, which change frequently but tend to include things like "warm poached black mission figs with gorgonzola and prosciutto di parma," are interesting and substantive. Items like "spiced almonds" and "parmesan olive oil potato chips" are priced at $2.50, and no appetizer -- or any dish, for that matter -- is over $10.
Tria offers a variety of bruschetta and panini, also good compliments to the beer and wine list. Of all the sandwiches (and I've tried most of them), I love the grilled cheese -- "three cheese & tomato panino with fontina, grana padano and goat cheese." The sandwiches are served with fresh greens, tossed in a light dressing with kosher salt. I have come to crave this sandwich and it ranks among the all time best grilled cheeses I've had. I also know people who crave the nutella panino, which is, in fact, as good as it sounds.
The wine, beer and cheese menus manage to convey a sense of humor, categorizing wines from "zippy whites" to "lighthearted reds" and beers from "invigorating" to "extreme." It's hard to go wrong with the cheeses, which are served with a taste accompaniment like honey, or nuts, along with bread, that are selected to highlight the particular cheese. Somehow, the descriptions work, at least for me, and are more clear than regional divisions or more traditional descriptors. I enjoyed a beer last night, a Tripel Karmeliet, that tasted unlike anything I've had before, with strong caramel and a rich bitterness in a lightly colored beer. It was listed under the heading, "profound." If only...
Tria is located at the corner of 18th and Sansom Streets, Philadelphia, Pa., photo thanks to http://www.triacafe.com/.